The House of Representatives drafted over 217 amendments to S2820, now H4860. The House has begun debates on these new amendments. The Massachusetts Association of Women in Law Enforcement supports building a more equitable, fair and just Commonwealth that values all citizens no matter what race, religion, ethnicity, gender or sexual orientation one is. It is our hope, that the events that have transpired in the recent months, will bring constructive reform to policing and law enforcement overall in our great State of Massachusetts.
However, we are concerned that the Senate version of the Bill was approved on Beacon Hill at 4:00 a.m. on July 14th without inclusion of important stakeholders in the process. Transparency and healthy dialogue were non-existent. The absence of these two critical ingredients, no matter what the subject matter, always breeds contempt. It is our contention that no lasting and meaningful change can be built on such foundation. Thus, we oppose the version of the Bill that was constructed in the early hours of July 14th and deem it to be grossly deficient and harmful, some may even argue negligent, in a number of ways.
We are optimistic that the House version of the Bill will be a comprehensive police reform bill, enhancing policing standards, while still preserving an officer’s right to due process. We are united with law enforcement professionals across the Commonwealth in acknowledging that WE HEAR THE VOICES OF THOSE WE SERVE. We are committed to ensuring that necessary and meaningful changes occur in policing and law enforcement within Massachusetts. Ensuring public confidence and trust in the badge, each individual officer, and the profession as a whole must be the end game. We cannot be successful in our mission if we do not have that. Therefore, we encourage positive police reform and it is our hope that the House Bill is one that officers can support.
In stating that, we feel that House Bill 4860 is still flawed and requires many amendments to make it the best possible version for every citizen and law enforcement officer in the State. Below is a list of amendments that MAWLE is asking you, your family and friends to support. It is vitally important, that the House of Representatives hear from us that rushed legislation will permanently damage law enforcement and thus, have serious negative impacts on our communities. The changes that are being proposed are going to eliminate due process, eliminate collective bargaining rights, severely limit appropriate uses of force that are needed to ensure safety, limit qualified immunity, and create a majority non-Law Enforcement Commission to set policing, certification, and de-certification policy and decisions.
#61 Amendment Clarifying Reach Back
#73 Addressing Indemnification
#79 Collective Bargaining Rights
#101 Treble Damages Amendment
#117 Limiting Retroactive Review
#118 Shall to May
#129 Due Process
#132 Prospective Reach of Commission
#138 Maintaining Privacy of Records
#139 Police Standards and Training Commission Quorum Requirements
#146 Powers of the Commission
#155 Appeals Process
#156 Personnel and Medical File Disclosures
#157 Special Commission on Qualified Immunity
#172 A Special Commission to Study Qualified Immunity
#173 Qualified Immunity Special Commission
#178 Additional Diverse Representation from Smaller Municipalities
#181 Commissioner Requirements
#192 Probation Commission Under Representative
#197 Qualified Immunity Study
#215 Qualified Immunity
To find your representative: https://malegislature.gov/Search/FindMyLegislator
We will continue to work with our partner organizations to examine other amendments dealing with issues that we think are important to our members and the communities our members serve.
We wish to thank you for the hard work each of you do daily in your communities. We need to voice our concerns and encourage our friends and families to do the same. In doing so, we can help to bring forth a comprehensive Bill that does not destroy our profession but instead, makes it stronger!